Childbirth is a significant moment and one that many women spend a lifetime dreaming about. Many laboring women commit to following a predetermined birth plan while others are comfortable making decisions in the moment.
What is true for most women is that they typically feel listened to by medical professionals. That was not the case for a Minnesotan woman who was recently awarded $8.9 million after she claimed her midwife’s negligence resulted in lifelong injuries to her son.
During prenatal appointments, the mother shared with her midwife that the baby felt larger than her previous child. According to the lawsuit, the midwife assured her that the baby was likely under the U.S. average birth weight of 7.7 pounds. The provided weight estimate was 6 pounds. Leading up to, and during delivery, the lawsuit alleges that the midwife failed to discuss alternatives such as a C-section.
During delivery, the baby’s shoulders became lodged in the birth canal. One expert testified to the court that the force used on the baby’s head and neck was “…seven to eight times the average traction used in a routine delivery.” Despite using great force, the baby remained lodged until a doctor took over and used another technique to free the baby.
When the 10.5-pound baby arrived in intensive care, staff discovered he had a broken arm and severe nerve damage in the part of his arm that controls movement. The boy, now nearly three years old, has undergone two surgeries, physical therapy and Botox injections to increase movement and decrease the painful nerve damage.
The lawsuit went before a jury who sided with the mother. The midwife was found to be negligent for not discussing alternatives such as a C-section with the mother. Despite the outcome, the hospital systems chief executive supports the medical team who, she believes, handled a difficult situation as best as they could.